Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bio of Francis Asbury - This Week in Christian History for the week of August 18-24

On August 20 or 21 1745 Francis Asbury was born in Hamstead Bridge England. His mother read the Bible to him for an hour every day as he was growing up. When he was 12 he dropped out of school to become a blacksmith’s apprentice. At age 16 he converted to Methodism and started to preach at 18. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, appointed him to be a travelling preacher. He volunteered to go to America in 1771. When the war broke out he had to hide for a while, otherwise he would have been forced to enter the war, but he remained neutral. He was the only English born preacher to remain until the end of the war.  

Asbury quickly became the American head of the Methodist Church, eventually getting the title of Bishop, although John Wesley was against this title. He travelled tirelessly through the new nation, preaching with great zeal. He organized districts to pastor to people in small town which were tended by riding circuit preachers. He pushed to spread the circuits to towns farther to the west, although they faced illness and Native American attacks.

He rose every morning at five to read the Bible. Asbury opened five schools and promoted Sunday school. He preached wherever he could, even if it was in the opened air. When he had started to preach in America there had been about 600 Methodists, but when he was done they numbered 200,000. While this was certainly not all his own doing, John Wesley himself preached along with about 4,000 other ministers. Asbury traveled about 6,000 miles a year on horseback.
He was also responsible for ordaining the first black minister in the United States. He was strongly opposed to slavery and petitioned George Washington to end it. He was saddened by the fact that some Methodist sold slaves and publicly stated so despite this not being popular at the time.

My new book, would you do what they did great Christian leaders from our past is now available to order from Amazon.com here is the link: Would You Do What They Did? - Great Christian Leaders From Our Past
It is also currently available at Barnes and nobles and should be available to order now or shortly from anywhere that sells books. The book is about Thomas Becket, Martin Luther, John Wesley and Francis of Assisi and is written in creative nonfiction style, I have excepts of the book here on my website williamdeanhamilton.net
Thank you for reading.